The Reeve for Hanover is calling it a great first step. Stan Toews is referring to what council learned Wednesday morning from Southern Health.

Back in March, the province announced it was expanding dialysis services, but did not include Steinbach on that list. Steinbach resident Bob Barrow, who has taken it upon himself to try and get a kidney dialysis program going at Bethesda Regional Health Centre then asked residents of the southeast to join him in voicing concerns to local politicians.

(Jane Curtis met with Hanover Council Wednesday morning.)Toews said in May that he received three personal letters. Toews said he does not buy the argument that Steinbach is too close to Winnipeg to warrant having a program. As a result, Council for the RM of Hanover wrote a letter to the province, urging it to reconsider.

In late July, Hanover received a response to its letter. The letter stated that an assessment conducted by the Manitoba Renal Program and Southern Health confirmed that the Steinbach area does not meet the necessary criteria to support a sustainable renal dialysis service delivery program.

However, the issue took a turn Wednesday morning. Southern Health Chief Executive Officer Jane Curtis and a delegation met with Hanover Council to discuss the matter. The delegation informed Council that they had reached out to the Manitoba Renal Program as 34 people in the region are currently receiving dialysis care elsewhere. A feasibility study was then done by the Manitoba Renal Program and Bethesda Regional Health Centre. The conclusion is that the Steinbach region does in fact meet the needs for dialysis.

According to Curtis, the next step is now to work with the province to review the program proposal.

"This is great news, it's a great first step," says Toews. "If they indicate that the number is there, I'm positive then at some point they will put that into our region for our citizens."

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